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Iron Donkey Bicycle Touring : bike tours, cycle vacations and biking holidays in Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, Italy and Spain.

Northwest Ireland 10 night extended Self-Guided Tour

Tour code: NWISG10

Tour Overview

This tour explores Sligo Lakeland, Fermanagh Lakeland, the Blue Stack Mountains, Leitrim and the Glen Peninsula in Donegal. This is a wonderful (and moderatley challenging) itinerary.

Starting out from the busy town of Sligo you are riding north on country lanes toward Ballyshannon.  From there you follow the beautiful coastline north, with its many coves and inlets, towards Donegal Town, where you can stop for lunch and a spot of shopping.  There is then a gradual climb to the hamlet of Letterbarra before an exhilarating descent to meet the Atlantic Ocean at Ardara, where you spend two nights. You have several options of loop rides from Ardara, all spectacular.  From Ardara you then ride through the extremely picturesque Blue Stack Mountains, arriving at Ballybofey. 

Out of Ballybofey you join the extremely quiet, remote, Mourne Beg River, which straddles the border between the North and South of Ireland.  You spend the evening in the town of Belleek, home of the world famous Belleek Pottery.  From Belleek you then ride to Belcoo, where you have another two-night stopover with excellent loop options.  You should be able to see Cuilcagh Mountains, Tullydermot Falls and the UNESCO recognised Marble Arch Caves.  After departing Belcoo, you then head through the majestic 19th Century Lough Key Forest Park, before arriving in Boyle.  The last leg of your journey takes you from Boyle back through glorious countryside to the bustling Sligo.

For information about en route scenery and attractions see the Regional Details page.

Ten highlights

  • Strolling through the grounds of Boyle Abbey
  • Lough Key Forest Park
  • The Lake Isle of Inishfree
  • Visiting Parkes Castle
  • Donegal Craft Village
  • Traditional music sessions in Ardara
  • The sea cliffs of Slieve League
  • Testing your climbing ability on the Glengesh Pass
  • Glencolmcille Folk Museum
  • Otter spotting in the Blue Stack Mountains


  • Ben Bulben
  • Carrick
  • Donegal Beach
  • Drumcliffe
  • Florence Court
  • Glencar
  • Gleniff Horseshoe
  • Malin Beg
  • Marbel Arch
  • Slieve League


  • You might want to consider a second overnight in Ballybofey around the halfway point – either for a rest, or for a ride to the walled city of Derry to the north.

Outline Itinerary

Day Start Stay Core route Options En Route
→ km ↑ m longer shorter
1 - Sligo - - - -  
2 Sligo Ballyshannon 71 503 Glancar Lough, Yeats’s Grave, Ben Bulben
3 Ballyshannon Ardara 52 533   Rossnowlagh, Donegal Castle, Lough Eske
4 Ardara Ardara 55 889 Glengesh Pass, Slieve League Cliffs, Glencolmcille
5 Ardara Ballybofey 54 692 Bluestack Mountains, Finn Valley
6 Ballybofey Belleek 70 894   Lough Derg, The Pullens, Belleek Pottery
7 Belleek Belcoo 66 771 Lough Navar Forest, Lough Macnean
8 Belcoo Belcoo 57 682   Florencecourt, Marble Arch Caves, Cuilcagh
9 Belcoo Boyle 58 433     Lough Key Forest Park, Arigna Mines
10 Boyle Sligo 59 491     Dromahair, Creevylea Friary, Parkes Castle

Day-by-Day Summary

Tour Costs

Costs in Euros
Basic cost per person sharing 1025*
Single accommodation supplement (if applicable) 315
Optional Costs
Bicycle rental Hybrid 175
Road 245
luggage transfers Total for one or two people 450
Each additional person 25

* Prices for solo travellers are on request

Click here for more details on what's included in the costs above.

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